30 May 2006 — The combined efforts of Powerspan Corp., and FirstEnergy Corp. have resulted in a unique opportunity to demonstrate both carbon dioxide capture and sequestration at a coal-fired power plant in the United States. Powerspan and FirstEnergy previously announced plans to pilot test a promising CO2 capture technology at FirstEnergy’s R.E. Burger Plant in Shadyside, Ohio. Last week, FirstEnergy announced that its Burger Plant was selected as a carbon sequestration test site by the Midwest Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership (MRCSP), one of seven regional partnerships set up by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to research carbon sequestration projects throughout the country.
Although both programs are multi-year efforts currently in the preliminary stages, plans are moving forward for the demonstration of CO2 capture at the pilot scale and subsequent injection of the captured CO2 into a test well on the Burger Plant property. Powerspan’s CO2 pilot unit will process a 1-MW slipstream from the company’s 50-MW Electro-Catalytic Oxidation (ECO) commercial demonstration unit, which has proven effective in reducing sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, mercury, and fine particulate matter. The pilot program will demonstrate the ability of the CO2 capture process to be integrated with the ECO multi-pollutant control process, and will confirm process design and cost estimates.
“To our knowledge, this will be the first time that combined CO2 capture and sequestration from a conventional pulverized coal-fired power plant will be demonstrated in the U.S. If successfully proven, this technology could help keep existing coal-fired power plants economically competitive in a carbon-constrained world,” said Frank Alix, chairman and CEO of Powerspan.
Both test programs are moving forward with the help of the U.S. DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL). Under a cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA), Powerspan is developing a cost-effective CO2 removal process for coal-based power plants. The regenerative process uses an ammonia-based solution to capture CO2 in flue gas and prepare it for subsequent sequestration; after regeneration the ammonia solution is recycled to capture additional CO2. Powerspan has conducted initial laboratory testing at the company’s research & development facility, with promising results.
The carbon sequestration test project planned for the Burger Plant is one of about 25 projects that are being planned across the country by the DOE to test the commercial viability of carbon sequestration as a CO2 storage method. In Ohio, DOE is working with MRCSP, a 30-member team led by Battelle, a leader in science and technology with over a decade of research on CO2 capture and storage technologies. The Burger Plant test project will involve geological site characterization to determine potential suitability for carbon sequestration in the area. If test results prove favorable, next steps involve obtaining permits required to drill a test well, followed by injection of a small amount of CO2 into the well.